“Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels has confirmed that actor Jussie Smollett will not return to the popular television drama next season following allegations that he staged a hate crime attack on himself, than lied about it to authorities.
Daniels tweeted the news in response to an article published Tuesday by Variety called, “‘Empire’ Writers Prepping for Jussie Smollett’s Return in Season 6.”
“@Variety @JoeOtterson This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire. -LD,” Daniels’ tweet read.
Fox Entertainment announced at the end of April that the television network had no plans to bring back Smollett’s character, according to CBS News.
"By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time, there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire,'" Fox said in a statement, CBS reported.
Earlier in the day, Fox announced the show about a hip-hop record label and the family that runs it had been renewed for a sixth season.
A Smollett representative issued a statement at the time saying the actor hoped he might eventually return, according to The Associated Press.
“We've been told that Jussie will not be on 'Empire' in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal's future open," the statement said. "Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and 'Empire' leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Smollett, 36, who told authorities he was assaulted in the predawn hours of Jan. 29 by a pair of men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, was charged with felony disorderly conduct after police contended he staged the attack.
Smollett, who was arrested in the case, has denied that he staged the attack.
Prosecutors later dropped the charges.
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